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News on the ongoing genocide in Myanmar: Kachin Children/women as human shields for troops; Malaysia

"They (the Rohingyas) are ill-treated only because they are weak. If we (all Muslims) come together as one and voice our concerns, we may be able to end this. "Today, we pray and call upon Allah to be with us. Insyaallah, with Allah with us, our voice will be louder and heard (by those concerned)." Pas' Nik Abduh rallies Muslims, M'sians to stand behind Rohingya By NST TEAM - 4 December 2016 @ 10:28 AM ================================= Burma’s Soldiers Beware Military commanders on both sides of Burma’s civil war need to know that they will be held accountable for any war crimes they commit. One obstacle to peace has been impunity for human-rights abuses. REUTERS By MATTHEW SMITH Dec. 3, 2014 12:43 p.m. ET It didn’t take long for military attacks to resume in Burma following President Barack Obama’s visit last month. Less than a week after Air Force One departed, the Burmese army shelled a rebel training camp in Kachin State, killing 23 cadets. Just days later, it bombarded an area near a camp for displaced civilians, prompting rare public protests in Rangoon and a statement of concern from the U.S. Embassy. This is the gritty truth of the “new Myanmar.” The story of successful cease-fire agreements and burgeoning democracy is giving way to disillusionment as the peace process stalls and violence escalates. One obstacle to peace in Burma’s war-torn ethnic-minority states is impunity for human-rights abuses. In the northern reaches of the country, the Burmese army, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and smaller ethnic militias have been fighting a deadly civil war for the past three and half years, destroying untold lives. More than 100,000 civilians have lost everything—land, homes, loved ones and social-support structures. Deep ethnic divisions and competition for natural resources, including jade deposits valued at billions of dollars, drive the conflict. Soldiers in the Burmese army have targeted and killed civilians, employed forced labor on the front lines, and pillaged and destroyed properties. Battalions have used men, women and children as human shields, forcing them to walk through landmine-infested jungles between remote villages. “They pointed their guns at us, and we had to point our faces toward the ground,” a 38-year-old Kachin mother of four told me. She and her children were taken twice by dozens of Burmese troops who forced them to walk through dense terrain in the conflict zone, for no discernable reason other than to protect them from KIA ambushes. “We thought they were going to kill us. We were all crying,” she said. In June my organization, Fortify Rights, released a 71-page report describing more than 60 instances of torture by the army, police and military intelligence. The government was quick to disavow our findings. President Thein Sein’s spokesperson, Ye Htut, responded that torture isn’t government or military policy, telling CNN the army would “never use torture as a weapon in the conflict areas.” To his credit, Mr. Ye Htut vowed that perpetrators would be punished “if we find they’ve committed these crimes.” However, to date no one has been held accountable and the practice continues. More than a dozen ethnic armies have also committed abuses in recent years, albeit on a lesser scale. Several continue to use child soldiers and plant landmines, and some have been accused of executing prisoners of war and abusing civilian populations. These abuses are hardly new. Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic recently identified three senior army commanders responsible for war crimes during an offensive in Karen State in 2005 and 2006, including attacks on civilians, killings, and forced labor on the front lines. All three of the named commanders received promotions after the offensive, including Burma’s current home-affairs minister, Lt. Gen. Ko Ko. To date, none have been held accountable. President Thein Sein’s administration and his “peace brokers” simply avoid serious discussions of human rights abuses and accountability. Let bygones be bygones, they argue. That’s easy for them to say. Ethnic survivors of abuses have a different view. They consistently tell us they want both peace and justice, and they want the world to know the truth. “We want accountability,” a Kachin woman in the conflict zone told me. “We want to use the courts, but we’ve been stifled.” If Burma is ever going to achieve a lasting peace and regain the lost trust of its ethnic populations, political and military leaders need to change course. For starters, military commanders on both sides of the conflict need to know that international law applies to their actions, and that they could face arrest and trial in domestic or international courts for any crimes they commit or oversee. Accountability for war crimes in Burma may seem distant now, but history shows that justice is steadfast. In recent years, those who oversaw wartime abuses in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe have faced prosecution in domestic and international courts. The same will come to perpetrators of war crimes in Burma. Current commanders in the country can avoid liability by ordering their soldiers, clearly and specifically, to cease and avoid unlawful conduct and by taking prompt and meaningful action against soldiers who commit abuses. If they do these two things, and refrain from committing unlawful acts themselves, they can’t be held accountable for war crimes. But in Burma’s war zones today, this isn’t happening. Burma’s leadership and military commanders have some decisions to make. The actions they take in the coming months and years will have momentous implications for their country’s future—and their own. Mr. Smith is the executive director of Fortify Rights. ============================= Suu Kyi must stop Rohingya 'genocide': Mayalsia PM 4 Dec 2016 at 13:45 530 viewed0 comments WRITER: AFP KUALA LUMPUR - Aung San Suu Kyi must step in to prevent the "genocide" of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Malaysia's prime minister said Sunday as he mocked the Nobel laureate for her inaction. Rohingya Muslim refugees offer prayers during a gathering in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 4, 2016 against the persecution of the ethnic minority in Myanmar Addressing a 5,000-strong rally in Kuala Lumpur, Najib Razak said the Myanmar government must stop the bloody crackdown in its far west that has sent thousands of Rohingya fleeing, many with stories of rape, torture and murder. “What’s the use of Aung San Suu Kyi having a Nobel prize?" Najib asked a raucous crowd. “We want to tell Aung San Suu Kyi, enough is enough... We must and we will defend Muslims and Islam," he said as supporters chanted "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greater"). "We want the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) to act. "Please do something. The UN do something. The world cannot sit and watch genocide taking place," said Najib. More than 10,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in recent weeks, the United Nations said on Wednesday, escaping a bloody army crackdown in the north of Rakhine state. Arrivals in Bangladesh have told AFP horrifying stories of gang rape, torture and murder at the hands of Myanmar's security forces. Myanmar has denied allegations of abuse, but has also banned foreign journalists and independent investigators from the area. Muslim-majority Malaysia has recently upped its criticism of Myanmar for its handling of the crisis. Last month it summoned the Myanmar ambassador, while around 500 Malaysians and Rohingya marched to the embassy in the Malaysian capital carrying banners denouncing the "genocide." A senior minister has called on Asean, the ten-country Southeast Asia bloc, to review Myanmar's membership, while a strongly worded statement from the foreign ministry Saturday accused Myanmar of engaging in "ethnic cleansing." But analysts said Sunday the issue is a convenient smokescreen for Najib, who is fighting allegations he took part in the looting of billions of dollars of public cash through state fund 1MDB. Both he and the fund deny any wrongdoing. James Chin, director of the Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania, told AFP that Najib "is there (at the rally) to boost his standing as an Islamic leader," with a general election looming. "Najib is looking for anything to make him look good and the Rohingya issue is simply a tool," said Bridget Welsh, a Malaysia politics expert with Turkey's Ipek University. She added that if Najib's government really cared for the Rohingya, they would "reexamine their own treatment of the community within Malaysia." Malaysia might be a beacon for Rohingya fleeing Myanmar but many have said they end up in a precarious and stateless limbo and suffer a new kind of marginalisation. ================================ BANGLADESH Protests at atrocities on Rohingyas continue

​Sunday, 4 December 2016

‘Rohingya woes a global issue now’

PUTRAJAYA: The high number of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia, coupled with hundreds of thousands in neighbouring countries, means the issue is no longer an internal matter in Myanmar, said Wisma Putra.

It said in a statement that the 56,000 Rohingya people in Malaysia and in other Asean countries made it an international matter.

“The fact that only one particular ethnicity is being driven out, is by definition, ethnic cleansing.

“This must stop and it must stop immediately in order to bring back security and stability to the region,” it said.

Wisma Putra added that Malaysia need not remind deputy director-general of the Myan­­mar Presi­dent’s Office, U Zaw Htay, of the 2015 boat people crisis which eventually became a regional issue, with Myanmar’s neighbours taking the brunt of the burden.

“It is with this in mind that Malaysia has repeatedly offered its assistance to the Myanmar government in finding a solution for a just and durable immediate solution to the persecution of the Rohingya in Rakhine state,” it said in the statement.

The statement was in response to Zaw Htay’s comment to the Myan­mar Times on Friday that Malaysia should respect sovereign affairs.

This came as several protests took place in Malaysia against Myan­mar’s treatment of the Ro­­hingya people recently.

There are also plans to hold a solidarity march on the issue.

Wisma Putra said that it viewed with concern the humanitarian crisis involving Rohingya, the spillover effect of which will affect the safety, security and standing of Malaysia, as Myanmar’s Asean neighbour.

“It is in this context that Malaysia has allowed the solidarity march to take place.

“As a neighbour and responsible member of the international community, it is Malaysia’s obligation to ensure that its Asean colleague takes proactive steps to prevent the matter from further deteriorating,” Wisma Putra said.

It further added that as a foun­ding member of the regional body, Malaysia was well aware of the principles on which Asean was built.

“In 2008, all 10 member states of Asean adopted the Asean Charter which binds members to the international principles of protection and promotion of human rights.

“Furthermore, all member states of Asean agreed to respond effectively, in accordance with the principle of comprehensive security, to threats, which the Rohingya issue poses to Malaysia’s own security,” Wisma Putra said. — Bernama​

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